Isn’t it irritating when some celebrity — whether an actor, a musical group or athlete — takes advantage of whatever platform they are on to use it to espouse some political belief?
I know it sure is to me, with Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, being the latest example of this with his show of disrespect for the national anthem before games and wearing socks portraying police as pigs.
Heretofore he shall be referred to as Colin K. because his last name is so hard to spell (I wish if a guy was going to do something as ridiculous as Colin K. has, he’d at least have the decency to be named Smith or Jones).
Keep in mind that Colin K. (not to be confused with Coach K, a real man of class) is being paid — and a large amount at that — to do a job, which is to play football.
This is notwithstanding the fact the 49ers signal-caller has been relegated to mediocre status because NFL defenses learned to stifle the read-option running QB offense that made him a star a few years ago. And he now has little else to fall back on skill-wise.
However, Colin K. still has a stage, even if it’s nothing more than standing on the sidelines and being spotted in pre-game festivities dissing the national anthem. This has included refusing to stand for the traditional rendering of “The Star-Spangled Banner” or kneeling during it, as he did for the Niners’ final preseason game Thursday night.
Asked why he sat during the anthem for a game against the Packers on Aug. 26, Colin K. said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Is Colin K. talking about the same country that provided a great opportunity for him, starting with being provided a full-ride scholarship to play football and get an education at the University of Nevada?
Does he also refer to the “National” Football League, which enabled him to become a superstar, albeit a fleeting one, while in the process of earning millions of dollars and fame (up to now at least)?
So if this is such a bad country overall, maybe Colin K. should not be a hypocrite about it and instead relinquish the profits he has realized from its capitalistic system and way of life, starting with donating all his money to charity.
And while he’s at it, if America is that bad a place because it has rewarded him and many other young black athletes, Colin K. might reconsider relocating.
Maybe to some Third World country where disease and famine are rampant, or a garden spot in the Middle East where he might get beheaded for going against those in power. Then there’s perhaps North Korea or China, where dissidents are eradicated — but I hear they’re nice this time of year.
But no, Colin K. wants to stay here and mount a protest that makes no sense at all, joining others in the sports and entertainment worlds who’ve done similar things while at the same time enriching themselves.
Here again, whether it’s to sing or take part in a sports contest, these people should just do their jobs and leave out the politics. It’s as if recording a top-10 hit, appearing in a movie or throwing a football for 300 yards in a game somehow qualifies one as an expert on civics, sociology or foreign affairs.
I’ve got news for these folks: no one really wants to hear any of your misguided social commentary — just shut up, play the guitar, block and tackle or whatever.
It is inexcusable that these idiots take advantage of a captive audience who has paid good money to attend a performance or game — then is subjected to a political protest. In the 49ers’ case, choice seats can run more than $1,000 apiece for their games and people such as Colin K. should respect this.
At least we probably won’t have to look at him much longer, since there is a good chance Colin K. will not survive final preseason cuts with San Francisco, and no other team is likely to sign this guy with limited talent who has such baggage attached to him.
The truth is, the United States of America is not a perfect place. Yet when we stand for the national anthem at a game or NASCAR event we are recognizing it as our homeland, despite its faults, and bestowing a solemn tribute that is deserved for a country that somehow remains paramount among them all.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill when he specifically spoke of democracy, we might see ourselves as being in the worst-possible situation — except when we consider all the other situations.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.